West Cook YMCA

Oct 2018 CEO Message

We're making your Y membership even more valuable

Published 10.12.18
Dear Member,

When I was first named President/CEO of the West Cook YMCA in 2014, I had an aspiration to improve the value of your membership.

We wanted to position the West Cook YMCA as the preferred health and wellness provider to our members and service area by providing a quality experience through excellence in service. Our over-all goal, then, as now, was to dramatically increase the value of your YMCA Membership - to make sure your investment in the Y was something that paid off in dozens of important ways. Most importantly, we wanted to ensure that we helped you achieve your goal of becoming your best self.

Our dedicated staff and the members of our board remain committed to providing you the best and most rewarding experience possible.

Four years later, I'm amazed at what we've been able to accomplish -- together. We are making a tremendous positive impact on our community, and it wouldn't have happened without your friendship and support.

In 2014, we had two program sites and we're serving nearly 6,000 individuals. Today, there are nine program sites and we are serving over 15,000 individuals. People from all walks of life are benefiting from the programs we offer: youth, seniors, adults, and families. We now have partnerships with healthcare providers and hospitals to bring Chronic Disease Prevention Programs to our community.  No matter where you are in your journey to Health and Wellness, we're here with a program designed to keep you strong and healthy and help you live life to the fullest.

As you can see, the West Cook YMCA has come a very long way from the days when it was known only as a place where you could go for a swim, play a game of basketball, or a place for men to stay. We continue to offer those programs but we are looking forward to implementing our strategic plan so we can improve the Y to best serve the needs of our members and our community.

But so much more is happening here. Below, you'll read about just some of the many accomplishments that were achieved at the West Cook YMCA this summer. With your help, we are ever growing, expanding, and increasing the services we offer, and making your membership more valuable each year.

Thank you again for being a part of the West Cook YMCA. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you and partner with you to make our entire neighborhood a healthier and happier place to live!


Phillip Jiménez                                              
President & CEO



Throughout 2017 and the beginning of 2018, your West Cook YMCA has been busy working on our strategic plan to determine how we can improve our Y to meet the needs of our members and community.

Through research and community stakeholder focus groups, we identified what were the critical social issues facing our community. Once these issues were identified, the board and staff worked to determine how the Y can best fit to meet those needs and we identified the following big questions we want to address through our programs and services:

  1. How will the West Cook YMCA increase accessibility to programs and services to reduce inequities in our communities, and especially among youth?
  2. What role will the West Cook YMCA have in reducing or delaying the impacts of social determinants of health and increasing overall well-being?
  3. How can we transform current and access new program space to ensure we achieve our full mission impact?
  4. How can the West Cook YMCA build the public's awareness and interest for the value of the Y's impact among influential stakeholders in our communities?




This summer we welcomed over 1,100 new members to the West Cook YMCA. If you're new to the Y, we're so glad to have you with us and look forward to helping you achieve your health and wellness goals.
Welcome Dee Dee McDevitt, Director of Member Engagement and Services
Dee Dee has over 25 years of corporate and nonprofit brand marketing, communications, and sales expertise. She has worked 9 years for two other YMCAs in Illinois and says that she feels blessed and extremely excited to be back in the Y movement again. She looks forward to meeting the members, program members, and residents, and providing the best member engagement services possible. Stop by and say hello. Dee Dee's office is next to the Member Engagement & Services desk.


Enjoyed another safe, fun-filled summer at the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center
Squeals of laughter were heard all summer long at our  Fred Hampton Aquatic Center. More than 7,600 children and adults had a great time escaping from the summer heat while also learning how to be safe in and around the water.Our Safety Around Water program has become an annual focus and has impacted hundreds of lives. This program is supported by the Village of Maywood, YMCA of the USA Strategic Initiative Fund, USA Swimming Foundation, West Cook YMCA, and community supporters. This past summer, 251 participants learned to be safe around the water, reducing their risk of drowning and ensuring a safe summer. Since 2016, 685 individuals have learned skills for safety around water-potentially saving their life in the future.


Received Prestigious Public Health Award 
This summer, the West Cook YMCA was chosen to receive the 2018 Dr. William Fitzsimmons Award, presented by the Oak Park Health Department. This award is presented each year to an organization or individual that has made Oak Park a healthier place to live. The Health Department said the YMCA was honored because of our "ongoing tailored programming to support individuals struggling with chronic disease, building strong partnerships with local health care providers, and contributing to the over-all health of this community." 
The Village of Oak Park said, "Over the past few years the West Cook YMCA has developed tailored, evidence-based programming to support individuals struggling with chronic disease. For example, the YMCA initiated a Diabetes Prevention Program, LIVESTRONG at  the YMCA that supports cancer survivors, and EnhanceFitness, an arthritis management program. Most recently, the YMCA has kicked off a Healthy Weight and Your Child program with the goal of empowering children and families through education, healthy eating and physical activity to elicit positive change and to live a healthier lifestyle. . . . The West Cook YMCA truly exhibits an organization that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to create a healthier Oak Park."  
William Fitzsimmons was a humanitarian and physician who served the village of Oak Park for many years. Thank you for helping the West Cook YMCA win this prestigious award through your ongoing support. We honored to be awarded and recognized for our work to make Oak Park a healthier place to live.
Closed the Achievement Gap through Power Scholars Academy
We kicked off our inaugural session of Power Scholars Academy through unprecedented partnership between Forest Park School District 91, River Forest School District 90, and the West Cook YMCA. This five-week program is designed to help students maintain their math and reading skills all summer long and get off to a successful start when school starts in the fall.   
Statistics show that a large number of children from vulnerable environments reach kindergarten unprepared and that they continue to fall behind in school without proper interventions. That "gap," known as the Achievement Gap, culminates in low high school graduation and college attainment rates, limited job prospects, and a negative economic impact for millions of youth as they enter adulthood. 
The Y, a longtime leader in youth development, is working to improve the educational readiness, engagement and outcomes for the country's children, in partnership with BELL, Building Educated Leaders for Life. 
The goal of Power Scholars Academy is to increase students' academic success and boost self-confidence, while also engaging families in the education process. The summer learning program is designed to address summer learning loss for children in vulnerable communities and thereby enhance overall youth development, academic performance, and graduation rates. 
This program was funded by River Forest School District 90, Forest Park School District 91, YMCA of the USA, John G. Symons Trust Charities, and the West Cook YMCA.



We're excited to announce that we are moving the Annual Gala to the spring.


The Community Thanksgiving Meal at the West Cook YMCA has become a tradition. This year on Thursday, November 22nd, volunteers and staff from Food for Friends and West Cook YMCA provide a place for the community to gather and give thanks.


Mark your calendars. The 46th Annual West Cook YMCA Christmas Tree Sale opens Friday, November 23rd. All proceeds benefit the Annual Support Campaign.
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